Manta Ray and Diver

What it’s like to swim with Manta Rays on the Great Barrier Reef

Manta Rays are one of Queensland’s Great Eight marine creatures. And, I was terrified when I was offered the chance to swim with manta rays on the Southern Great Barrier Reef – the buggers can have a wing span of up to seven metres (22 feet for my American friends) and their gaping mouths give me the heabie jeebies.

What if they eat me?!

How wrong I was. Despite their sinister appearance, manta rays are the gentle giants of the ocean and are more interested on feeding on tiny plankton than my big fleshy thighs.

So over the side of the boat I go, just off Lady Elliot Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef – this is one of the best places in the world to swim with manta rays (and turtles too).

Dwarfed by a manta ray off Lady Elliot Island – I told you they were big.

Smart swimmers. Manta rays have the largest brain to body size ratio of any living fish. This makes them very inquisitive and they love checking out divers in the water = awesome swimming experience!

In just under a decade the number of manta alfredi rays has increased 10-fold and they swarm to the warm tropical waters on the Southern Great Barrier Reef to feast on plankton and breed.

Flying above the coral. Manta’s glide through the ocean like soaring eagles. These guys are awesome to watch.

High five to awesome manta rays for being so friendly and perfect swimming buddies on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.